LaFayette extends Avenu Insights & Analytics business license services contract

Published 7:08 am Friday, March 26, 2021

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At its final meeting of March, the LaFayette City Council approved the extension of Avenu Insights & Analytics, a company that handles the city’s business license services for another year.

Avenu Insights & Analytics has handled the city’s business licenses since the start of 2020. Last year, it sent out 1,049 renewal notices, receiving 285 responses. As of Monday’s meeting,  it had sent out 1,226 notices, receiving 400 responses.

“Year after year, we are actually showing an increase,” Avenu Insights & Analytics business License Manager Clara Bryant said.

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The resolution passed 5-1 with the lone no being from Councilmember Shannon Hunter.

Hunter’s main issue with the company was some businesses were receiving notices late, while some never received one.

Bryant informed the council that COVID-19 caused a lot of problems on their side of the license renewal process.

In March, workers were sent home due to COVID-19. Because they were working remotely, the process of sending out and processing licenses was much slower than normal. If someone scanned in a business license that was filled out in pencil, it took longer to decipher than normal.

“They were posting from an image, which is very difficult in the business license world because the forms are pretty intricate,” Bryant said. “If someone filled it out in pencil and scanned it, it was hard to read. For about three months, we let them work from home during the worst part of [the pandemic] but then we had to bring them back in the office to be able to process and get their licenses out quicker.”

Along with the slower processing on its side, Avenu Insights & Analytics also had to deal with the Birmingham post office moving slower than normal, as a covid outbreak caused it to be roughly two weeks behind its normal schedule.

“It did cause some issues with some delay. We’re still seeing some delay in the mail coming in,” Bryant said. “We’re seeing mail that would usually take four or five days to get to us is taking it about a week or two weeks. Mail going out seems to be delayed as well. I don’t know when they’ll have a full staff up and running or if it’s just the Birmingham mail or offices around the country.”

If a business needs their license faster than the mail is currently moving, Avenu Insights & Analytics can email or fax a copy of the license.